Review: NARS Eye Shadow Duo Surabaya

I HATE NARS packaging. Seriously, with a vengeance. If you didn’t know, the cases tend to get all sticky and melty after a few years and I am forced to depot whatever that’s inside. I believe it is not due to weather, because my friends who live even in the North Pole which is forever winter complain about it (*waves* hi Santarina!). I held back from getting more NARS blushes because of that reason, but I totally caved when I saw Surabaya on Jenny. I’m such a total sucker for reddish browns and doesn’t she look sexy? I cast all logic aside and got my very first NARS eye shadow duo, knowing full well I’d have to depot this sucker a few years down the road. Such was that unreasonable magnetic pull of these 2 shades.


NARS 800 pix



I was actually pleasantly surprised by the texture of these eye shadows. I have read mixed reviews about the consistency of NARS eye colours, some are buttery and pigmented while others are hard and stiff. These might be a little hard to touch, but I have no problems picking up the colours with my fingers or my brush. I find that it’s much easier to apply using makeup brushes, and that’s what I usually do anyway. I don’t really like to apply powder eye shadows using fingers, because the oil on our fingers will in time transfer to the powder, making it harden. Some of my really old eye shadows got to that stage when I only used my fingers to apply.


Surabaya pan Surabaya duo


I have used these on my eyes with and without a primer, and naturally, the colours stay more vibrant and stay longer when I use a primer. Without primer, the colours fade a little after 4 hours and by the 6th hour, there is creasing on my lids. I hardly wear makeup for such a long period nowadays, so I’m good without a primer. As you can see, Surabaya is a combination of 2 different browns. You get a warm coppery brown and another reddish burgundy brown which doesn’t make your eyes look bloodshot. The combination of these 2 colours is amazingly seductive, and you can pair it with a nude or bold vampy lip.


Surabaya swatch


I will be posting a look using these 2 colours soon, don’t worry. I know many people are afraid of red toned eye shadows, but this duo might just be the perfect balance most of us are looking for. Do you like brown eye shadows? What kind of brown makes you happy?


xoxo Lily



  • i LOVE red toned shadows. These are soooo beautiful–can’t wait to see what look you put together!

    • Lily

      *high five*!! Red toned shadows FTW πŸ™‚

  • Love it! Can hardly wait to see your look! I don’t have a lot of NARS shadows-anymore. I used to, but sold most of them. But I do have one duo with this new formula they got and it’s SO much better!

    • Lily

      I bought this duo sight unseen because the only store in the country is just too far away. Lucky for me, it’s love at first sight πŸ™‚

  • Hey Lily, I’d love to see your look soon! These are colors I typically run away from. For some reason, very warm, red-toned browns clash bad with my skin tone (of course, it could be all in my head. I just don’t like them that much in general). I looove browns, just not reddish ones!

    • Lily

      You know, you pull off berry lipsticks like a champ so I’m sure you can pull off reddish brown eye shadows too!

  • Bella

    Thanks for this review. This duo looks a lot more wearable in your pictures than I’d imagined from the product shots. I would love to see a look! I too am weary of too warm browns though; Tom Ford Cognac Sable, for example, just doesn’t do it for me.
    And I’m just sitting here chuckling at the way you manage to destroy your Nars packaging :P. I cannot relate at all; though I’ve never kept anything for 5 years, I have things that are still pristine after three much used years. Glad you enjoyed the eyeshadow formula. I have never been disappointed by the singles and duos. The only subpar (for them) Nars eyeshadows I have met are those in the Narsissist palette.

    • Lily

      I promise I didn’t cast voodoo spells on the NARS packaging for a horrible gory death. They just die on me one by one! Might not be the heat but maybe the humidity? Seriously no idea :-/

  • May I add that Surabaya is a place in Indonesia (wink!). The colours are lovely and I’d love to see it on you. This year some of my Nars Eyeshadow melted really grossly (and I thought of you), I really think twice before buying Nars now. I have a Nars blush I love and hoping that won’t happen to the blush… I love brown eyeshadows, especially dark ones. I used to think reddish browns was a big no no for me, but if I use black eyeliner too, anything is possible.

    • Lily

      You’re right Sofia. Black liners make all the difference! I’d get ready an empty palette to depot if I were you. NARS graveyard. Lol!

  • OMG! That post from MFV also got me digging into my stash and grabbing Surabaya out! It’s probably one of my fav duos from Nars, and apparently it’s still one of their worldwide top sellers.

    • Lily

      Oh I didn’t it’s one of their bestsellers. I obviously don’t know much about this brand. Lol!

  • I’m excited to see the looks you create with this duo.
    I am, too, afraid of warm reddish brown colors in general, but I feel I’m warming up to them slowly.
    It is interesting to see a duo with a less contrast like this. There is this decadent quality to each shades.
    I personally adore the texture of NARS pressed powder formulation (although they tend to vary). πŸ™‚

    • Lily

      This is my first NARS eye shadow and so far, I really like it!

  • Ugh, Jenny makes everything look smoking hot. It’s kind of unfair, lol, and bad for the wallet! I can’t wait to see what you do with this. I am afraid of warm reds like this too, actually.

    • Lily

      I know right? She can just smudge eye liner everywhere and still look hawt. Haha!

  • Liz

    LOVE the look of this duo! I remember Jenny’s post too and it was amazing. Certain red tones emphasize the red veiny look of my eyeballs, so I have to tread carefully. Can’t wait to see your look!

    • Lily

      Speaking of which, I really should prepare the look and snap photos. So lazy though. … Aiming to post it on Sunday πŸ™‚

  • ncie ,opaque shades
    will look fwd for the review πŸ™‚

    • Lily

      Thanks but this is the review. Lol! I’ll post a look in a few days though πŸ˜›

  • Bellyhead

    Those colors look perfectly wearable and not veering into rabbity eye territory! Can’t wait to see the look you create.
    Also, I dooooooo loves the look of the blog! So clean!

    • Lily

      Thanks Belly! The look will be up on Sunday. Just took the photos and edited them πŸ™‚ I really like this layout too. Bigger fonts so easier to read.

  • When I saw this on Jenny, I wanted it right away, and I still do. Unfortunately we don’t have a Nars counter where I live, but oh wow, seeing your swatches, I’m still deeply in love. Need to get that ASAP!

    X Alice

    • Lily

      Hi Alice, it’s difficult for me to go to a NARS counter too so I bought this online from Strawberrynet. I like that it ships worldwide, no extra charges πŸ™‚ I’ll post a look on Sunday so you can see how it looks on me. Jenny makes everything look good so sometimes it’s not just the product. Lol lol!

      • I’m really curious to see your look on Sunday! I’ve followed you on Twitter so hopefully I’ll see when you’ve posted it! πŸ˜‰ Oh, and I’ll check that site out, thanks! ^^

        X Alice

  • Jaa

    I have a hard time pulling off reddish brown eyeshadows (or so I think) so I’m looking forward to see your look! Thanks for the tip on never using fingertips to apply shadow from the pan. I had no idea! Not that I’ve ever done it. I mostly use my fingers with highlighters, time to stop! πŸ˜€

    • Lily

      Hi Jaa, this red isn’t very pronounced on my skin so maybe you should try it too. It definitely looks more red when Jenny wears it though. The effects of different skin tones and all πŸ™‚

  • I love reddish browns! I love all browns, let’s be real. If I could only wear brown eyeshadow for the rest of my life, I’d be completely fine with it! This duo looks incredible and I can’t wait to see what you do with it on your lovely peepers!

    • Lily

      I’m with you Kristen. I don’t mind wearing brown eye shadows for the rest of my life either. Lol!

  • Shu Ting

    ooo… I shy away from brown tones like these! I think I’m not good with these warm browns! Anyway, the other day I saw a tutorial by Nix from Pixiwoo doing an Olsen twin look on a lady. And she used similar dark brown shade like these. Beautiful makeup she did. πŸ˜‰

    • Lily

      It’s been a while since I watched YouTube! Maybe I should have a look πŸ™‚